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Consultation open to residents for their view on budget for policing and community services

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Residents of County Durham and Darlington are being asked how much they are willing to pay for policing in their council tax.

The government has recently confirmed that Police and Crime Commissioners can increase the precept by £15 annually.

The Office of Durham Police, Crime & Victims' Commissioner is recommending the precept (council tax) is increased by the maximum amount of £15 per year in Band D properties.

In County Durham and Darlington such increase will help deliver the policing uplift to enable more police officers on the streets and in the communities, provide support to those suffering mental health crises in order to keep them and our communities safe, as well as ensuring the force control room is sufficiently resourced to meet demand from 999 and 101 calls.

The increase in precept will also enable the force to invest in technology infrastructure, increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of police procedures so that officers can continue to deliver support to communities and businesses.

The Force will also benefit from precept funding, using its resources to work on crime issues such as county lines in partnership with neighbouring forces to ensure they try and interrupt organised crime and drug gangs.

The force would like to continue to invest and educate residents regarding the emerging and growing types of crime, including cyber-crime which is becoming more prevalent.

Over recent years the precept has been increased to help continue to invest in victim support services, such as to victims who need assistance to recover from domestic and/or sexual abuse, and ensure the force are able to maintain a strong PCSO presence within the community.

Steve White, Acting Durham Police, Crime & Victims' Commissioner said, "Durham Constabulary is one of the most efficient police forces in the country according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. That's a consequence of the force's commitment to innovation and making the very best use of the money available.

"I recognise how tough this year has been on everyone within the community and how difficult individual's financial circumstances have become, however, policing is an essential service that will help us keep our communities safe.

"Our police force has faced their own challenges and worked extremely hard to set new regulations this year in order to keep people safe during the pandemic.

"The proposed increase will help meet the rising demand from people who suffer from mental health crisis in our communities, in order to keep them and the public safe. An increase will also mean we can continue to deliver an effective and efficient police force and maintain the highest standard of policing with more officers on the streets protecting the community".

Residents will be asked what services they think would benefit from extra investment including victim support, rural crime and anti-social behaviour.

Last year's precept increase of £10 per Band D household helped support the employment of over 68 additional police officers plus additional police staff to support these officers, to Durham Police during 2020/21.

Durham Constabulary has recently submitted a planning application to build a £21m centralised custody facility, these funds have come from reserves and will not be funded from a rise in the precept.

Steve White, Acting Durham Police, Crime & Victims' Commissioner will make a precept recommendation to Durham Police and Crime Panel in the New Year, once the consultation has ended.

The survey for residents of County Durham and Darlington will be open until 31st January 2021.

Survey can be accessed here - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/967C3F9

Posted on Wednesday 30th December 2020
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